Eagles Interview Ken Whisenhunt, Jay Gruden

And the search goes on.

The Eagles announced today that they’ve interviewed former Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt. Whisenhunt’s teams went 45-51 in Arizona. They made the playoffs twice and advanced all the way to the Super Bowl in 2008, beating the Eagles in the NFC championship game.

But things turned ugly the past three seasons, largely because of the team’s inability to find a quarterback. The Cardinals went 18-30 from 2010 to 2012. Last season, they started out 4-0 before dropping nine in a row and 11 of their last 12.

Whisenhunt has drawn interest from the Bills, Browns and Chargers. Buffalo and Cleveland, of course, have already filled their vacancies. Whisenhunt reportedly interviewed with San Diego on Tuesday.

Prior to landing the Cardinals job, he served on the Steelers staff for six seasons – three as tight ends coach and three as offensive coordinator. He also spent time with the Jets (2000), Browns (1999) and Ravens (1997-98).

As for Jay Gruden, he’s spent the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals. You can find more about him here.

For those keeping track at home, here are the candidates the Eagles have interviewed so far: Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, ex-Bears coach Lovie Smith, Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, Falcons special-teams coach Keith Armstrong, Oregon’s Chip Kelly, Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly and Penn State’s Bill O’Brien.

Kelly, Kelly and O’Brien are no longer candidates. Bradley is expected to get a second look.

The Eagles are expected to interview Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians this week.

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Gus Bradley Has “Great Interview” With Eagles

Gus Bradley‘s interview with the Eagles on Saturday went very well, according to Jay Glazer.

“He had a great interview with the Philadelphia Eagles,” said Glazer. “If the Seahawks lose [to the Falcons] look for the Eagles to bring Bradley back in.”

The Seahawks did lose to Atlanta, making Bradley available. While a second interview is certainly possible, it had not yet been scheduled as of Monday morning, according to a league source.

Glazer also reports that Mike Nolan, who interviewed with the Eagles early in the process, plans to stay in Atlanta.

“Before Cleveland hired Rob Chudzinski they really wanted to bring Nolan in there – they were hot for him. Nolan told me, ‘Listen, I’m very happy where I am with Mike Smith and Tom Dimitroff. Unless it’s a great job, I love being here in Atlanta.’”

Meanwhile, a couple other assistants the Eagles have targeted are drawing attention elsewhere.

The Eagles met with Brian Billick on Monday, a source confirmed. Billick has not been linked to any other teams. Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski are slated to meet with Jay Gruden Monday and Bruce Arians Tuesday.

Be sure to check out our coaching tracker for all the latest.

 

Eagles To Meet With Jay Gruden Monday

The Eagles will interview Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden on Monday, according to multiple sources. The Eagles have since confirmed the date.

The younger brother of Jon Gruden sat down with the Cardinals on Thursday. While he is honoring teams’ requests to meet with him, he does not sound like he is itching to get out of Cincinnati.

“I got called to interview for these jobs. I figure I better say yes or they’ll quit asking me,” Gruden told the team’s website.

“I think it will be a great experience and it’s exciting. I have every intention of coming back here. We’ve got a great group of guys here. We’re excited for the future here.”

As we detailed a couple weeks back, Gruden isn’t quick to uproot his family but would likely do so for the right opportunity.

The 45-year-old Gruden was a quarterback both at the University of Louisville and later in the World League and AFL. He was an assistant for the Bucs from 2002-08 and won a Super Bowl coaching under Jon in Tampa. He also won two AFL titles as head coach of the Orlando Predators.

“I’ve been a head coach before for a while,” Gruden said. “I know it’s a different league and it’s not the NFL, but I’ve handled people and handled organization, handled salary caps, done all the things necessary to be a head coach. I understand the game and I think it would be a good fit.”

Gruden says he got some good advice from big brother before starting the interview process.

“Jon’s always got his two cents to add. He can talk with the best of them,” Gruden said. “And he’s been around the block a few times. He’s been to interviews and knows how the process works and been a big help. So I picked his brain a little bit and he’s been excellent in the process, as usual.”

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Coaching Buzz: Moves That Impact the Eagles

Things have been relatively quiet with the Eagles today, but there has been plenty of movement around the league that could impact the Birds.

Here’s a roundup of what’s going on:

* Let’s start in Cleveland where Joe Banner and the Browns are interviewing Ken Whisenhunt for a second time, according to Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain-Dealer. The Bills expressed some interest in Whisenhunt before hiring Doug Marrone, but no other teams have interviewed the former Cardinals coach.

* The Jaguars joined the party late, firing Mike Mularkey today after one season. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, they’ll take a look at 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman and Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Surprisingly, Roman has not had a single interview up to this point.

* Jay Gruden is currently interviewing with the Cardinals, and he told reporters the plan is to meet with the Eagles next week.

* League sources tell ESPN’s Ed Werder that the Cowboys, who fired Rob Ryan this week, have focused their defensive coordinator search on 72-year-old Monte Kiffin. Kiffin’s age apparently is not scaring teams off. SI.com’s Peter King reported earlier this week that Kiffin could be on Andy Reid’s radar in Kansas City. As for an Eagles slant, the team is expected to interview Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. Bradley coached under Kiffin for three seasons with the Bucs, and Kiffin apparently thought Bradley was a “once-in-a-lifetime” coach. Perhaps the mentor wouldn’t mind running the protege’s defense if he gets back in the league? Just a thought.

* Multiple reports indicate that Doug Pederson will be Reid’s offensive coordinator in Kansas City. The former Eagles QB coach drew some pretty high praise from former Eagles scout Daniel Jeremiah:

* There was a report Wednesday night that the Bears were also interested in Brian Kelly, but Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times says that’s not the case.

* Bruce Arians told a San Diego radio station that his interest in the Chargers job has increased now that they hired Tom Telesco as their GM:

“I think so much of [the] success that teams have are great relationships between general manager and head coach,” Arians said, per SportsRadioInterviews.com. “And it’s not who has control of the roster, it’s how do we get the best players? … I had the opportunity to work for 12 weeks as a head coach this year with Ryan Grigson and Tommy Telesco, and it was a fantastic relationship. And I wouldn’t want to work in any other situation as a head coach, unless it’s that type of relationship where nobody’s got a power player [and] we’re all in this together trying to win.”

Arians is expected to interview with the Eagles.

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Coaching Buzz: The Latest On Roman And Pettine

One name that’s been on our list of coaching candidates from day one is Greg Roman.

But somewhat curiously, the 49ers offensive coordinator and Ventnor, N.J. native drew no reported interest last week when teams were free to interview him.

However, that could change.

According to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, Roman could get a look in Jacksonville or San Diego because of his existing relationships with their decision-makers. The Jaguars have hired Falcons director of player personnel David Caldwell as their new GM. As Maiocco explains, Caldwell and Roman were teammates and roommates at John Carroll University. Tom Telesco, who is in the mix for the Chargers GM job, also attended John Carroll and knows Roman.

The 40-year-old has never been a head coach at any level and has two years of NFL coordinator experience. He also worked on Jim Harbaugh’s staff for two years at Stanford.

As of this writing, the Eagles have not shown any interest in Roman. But as we’ve seen, the list of candidates can change on a daily basis.

PETTINE TO BUFFALO

Mike Pettine won’t be coming home.

The Doylestown native will join Doug Marrone’s staff as the defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills, according to Chris Mortensen.

It’s wise for the Eagles to be thorough in their coaching search, but the one disadvantage is that you can miss out on some top-level assistants like Pettine, who find jobs elsewhere.

JAY GRUDEN STAYING PUT?

The Eagles are expected to interview Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden at some point. But he doesn’t exactly seem eager to leave Cincinnati.

“I got called to interview for these jobs,” Gruden said, per the Bengals Web site. “I figure I better say yes or they’ll quit asking me.

“I think it will be a great experience and it’s exciting. I have every intention of coming back here. We’ve got a great group of guys here. We’re excited for the future here.”

But he explained that he does want to be a head coach – eventually.

“When you enter the coaching profession you necessarily don’t do it to be an assistant your whole life,” Gruden said. “Eventually you’d like to be top dog and run your own ship. When the time’s right. Every team has their issues and their problems. That’s why they’re looking. Eventually when the time is right, hopefully I’ll get a chance. If not this year, or next year, or the year after. I’ll be happy here because it’s a great place.”

MIKE NOLAN UPDATE

Mike Nolan has already interviewed with the Eagles. He talked to reporters about how the meeting went.

“Like I said, it’s flattering when someone wants to talk to you, at least I think so, and especially someone like Philadelphia, which is a great organization,” Nolan said, per Fox Sports South. “They have a tremendous owner, much like we do here. Whoever ends up with that job is going to do a good job and I also appreciate the fact that it is a great organization. They don’t change coaches very often. It’s been 14 years since they changed the last time and that’s a credit to the entire organization, not just Andy, who I think is a hell of a coach.

“It’s a real credit to them. So all I really say is for someone, it’s going to be a great opportunity to be with a great organization, a great owner and all those good things. Hopefully, we’re still playing so we keep on playing.”

And finally, the Chargers have contacted UCLA coach Jim L. Mora, according to the Los Angeles Times, but he’s expected to stay put.

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Coaching Buzz: Saban, Pettine And (Jay) Gruden

We’ve learned that what Nick Saban says and what Nick Saban does when it comes to his coaching future can be two different things. But he sounded pretty convincing Tuesday when the questions about the NFL came up once again. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“I think somewhere along the line you’ve got to choose. You learn a lot from the experiences of what you’ve done in the past.

“I came to the Miami Dolphins, what, eight years ago for the best owner, the best person that I’ve ever had the opportunity to work for. And in the two years that I was here, had a very, very difficult time thinking that I could impact the organization in the way that I wanted to or the way that I was able to in  college, and it was very difficult for me, because there’s a lot of parity in the NFL, there’s a lot of rules in the NFL.

“And people say you can draft the players that you want to draft; you can draft a player that’s there when you pick. It might not be the player you need, it might not be the player you want. You’ve got salary cap issues. We had them here. You’ve got to have a quarterback. We had a chance to get one here; sort of messed it up.

“So I didn’t feel like I could impact the team the same way that I can as a college coach in terms of affecting people’s lives personally, helping them develop careers by graduating from school, off the field, by helping develop them as football players, and there’s a lot of self-gratification in all that, all right.”

“I kind of learned through that experience (with the Dolphins) that maybe this is where I belong, and I’m really happy and at peace with all that,” said Saban. “So no matter how many times I say that, y’all don’t believe it, so I don’t even know why I keep talking about it.”

Local product Mike Pettine, who served as the Jets defensive coordinator from 2009 to this past season, is a free agent. And he’s keeping at least a half-an-eye on what the Eagles are doing. From Ed Kracz:

“Obviously a lot of people, myself included, are very interested to see what happens there,” he said. “Growing up an Eagles fan, you always have that hometown team in the back of your mind.”

Pettine, the CB West grad and former North Penn coach, is expected to interview for the DC job in Buffalo.

Finally, a report surfaced that the Eagles will interview Jay Gruden on Wednesday. The Eagles have denied that report.

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One Week In, New Names For Eagles To Consider

The Eagles are one week into their coaching search, and the landscape has changed considerably.

Chip Kelly and Bill O’Brien are staying at Oregon and Penn State, respectively. Dirk Koetter will remain offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons. And Doug Marrone signed on with the Bills.

All four were on the Eagles’ radar at one time or another during the last seven days.

So where do Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski go from here? The interviews will continue this week. Below is a list of candidates to keep an eye on.

Gus Bradley – Defensive coordinator, Seattle Seahawks

The latest: Based on our post from this morning, Bradley might be the fan favorite. He’s been the Seahawks defensive coordinator since 2009. This year, Seattle finished first in scoring defense (15.3 PPG) and fourth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA ratings. Bradley was part of the Tampa Bay Bucs’ staff for three seasons. Monte Kiffin called him a once-in-a-lifetime coach. Pete Carroll said Bradley’s the best teacher he’s ever been around. And players seem to love taking the field for him. The 46-year-old is expected to interview with the Eagles this week, although no specific date has been set. The process still has to play out, but Bradley appears to be very much in the mix.

Mike McCoyOffensive coordinator, Denver Broncos

The latest: The Eagles moved on from Kelly Sunday and interviewed McCoy in Denver. The 40-year-old Broncos offensive coordinator is drawing plenty of interest and has also interviewed with the Bears and Cardinals. We’ve discussed why McCoy’s attractive at length here. He’s maximized the potential of quarterbacks like Jake Delhomme, Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow. Most would agree that having a franchise quarterback is the most direct route to NFL success. But what happens when you can’t find one of those guys? It’s good to have a coach who can adapt to personnel. And McCoy’s done that. Peyton Manning said recently he thinks McCoy is ready to be an NFL coach. The Eagles are not allowed to interview McCoy for a second time until the Broncos are knocked out of the playoffs. If Denver reaches the Super Bowl, teams can interview McCoy again after championship weekend.

Jay Gruden – Offensive coordinator, Cincinnati Bengals

The latest: The Eagles have requested permission to interview Gruden, but have not yet received it. The Bengals are out of the playoffs after failing to score an offensive touchdown Saturday against the Texans. Andy Dalton has left plays on the field all season long. Then again, if Gruden is going to be credited with helping to develop Dalton, he surely deserves part of the blame for the second-year QB not playing better in the postseason. Gruden had never been a coordinator or position coach in the NFL or college before 2011. His resume won’t blow suitors away. Gruden’s best chance at landing a head-coaching gig will be to impress during the interview process.

Bruce Arians – Offensive coordinator, Indianapolis Colts

The latest: Arians missed yesterday’s loss to the Ravens after being hospitalized with nausea and headaches. Stepping in for Chuck Pagano, he has been at the center of the feel-good story in the NFL this season. Arians has experience working with young quarterbacks. He’s helped Andrew Luck along as a rookie and worked with Ben Roethlisberger from 2007-2011, a run that included a Super Bowl win and another Super Bowl appearance. He of course has Philadelphia roots too, having served as the head coach at Temple from 1983 to 1988. The one thing working against Arians is that he’s 60 and has never been an NFL head coach. Colts GM Ryan Grigson said recently that the team would like to try to keep Arians. The Eagles are expected to interview him, but no date has been set.

Darrell Bevell – Offensive coordinator, Seattle Seahawks

The latest: I’m guessing Bevell has an entire page on his resume devoted to Russell Wilson. The rookie QB completed over 64 percent of his passes and threw 26 touchdowns this season. And the Seahawks are headed to the divisional round of the playoffs to take on the Falcons. Bevell has seven years of coordinator experience – the last two with the Seahawks and the previous five with the Vikings. He also served six years on the Packers’ staff, including three seasons as quarterbacks coach. The Seahawks finished the year eighth in scoring offense and fourth in Football Outsiders’ rankings. So far, the only interview Bevell has lined up is with the Bears. But that could change.

Mike Nolan – Falcons defensive coordinator

The latest: The Eagles interviewed him last week. Tim talked to Dan Reeves about Nolan’s credentials and his desire for a second chance. There’s no doubt that Nolan is a respected defensive coordinator, but he went just 18-37 in three-plus seasons with the 49ers. That history will be tough to sell to a frustrated fan base. Then again, Lurie said the Eagles are going to make the right choice, even if it’s not the most popular one. No other team has been linked to Nolan.

Lovie Smith – Former head coach, Chicago Bears

The latest: You figure if the Eagles are willing to give Nolan a look, then they should at least see what Smith has to say. The former Bears coach went 81-63 in nine seasons in Chicago. Smith’s teams were almost always in the mix, but only made the playoffs three times. He had defense and special teams covered, but never could quite get the offense going. Smith interviewed with the Bills before they hired Marrone. He is 54-years-old.

Keith ArmstrongSpecial-teams coordinator, Atlanta Falcons

The latest: The Eagles interviewed him last week. Armstrong has drawn interest from the Bears and Chiefs too. There’s been a lot of talk this offseason about giving special-teams coaches a look. Armstrong played his college ball at Temple and is a Levittown native. Given some of the coaches he’s up against, Armstrong seems like a longshot at this point.

Mike Zimmer – Defensive coordinator, Cincinnati Bengals

The latest: Mike Mayock openly lobbied for Zimmer to get a look during Saturday’s broadcast. He’s spent the past 13 seasons as a coordinator – five with the Bengals, one with the Falcons and seven with the Cowboys. While Zimmer got a pair of interviews last year (Bucs, Dolphins), he’s yet to get a head-coaching opportunity. Zimmer’s units have finished in the top-10 in scoring defense in three of the past four seasons. In the second half of 2012, the Bengals allowed just 12.8 points per game. At 56-years-old, Zimmer may find himself stuck in the coordinator box. He has no reported interviews scheduled, even though there are still five head-coaching vacancies.

Greg Roman – Offensive coordinator, San Francisco 49ers

The latest: I’m a bit surprised he has not had any interviews yet. Roman, a Ventnor N.J. native, has worked on Jim Harbaugh’s staff for the past four seasons – two with the Niners and two at Stanford. Under the direction of Roman and Harbaugh, Alex Smith turned in his best season as a pro in 2011. The 49ers’ offense turned the ball over just 10 times last season, tied for the fewest in NFL history. This year, the 49ers have changed their offense to fit Colin Kaepernick’s talents. San Francisco is 11th in the league in scoring offense and ranks fifth, according to Football Outsiders. Roman, 40, has never been a head coach at any level and has only been an NFL coordinator for two seasons.

Ben McAdoo – Quarterbacks coach, Green Bay Packers

The latest: Tim introduced us to McAdoo last month as a potential sleeper. He’s worked with Aaron Rodgers and was being looked at as a coordinator by other teams last offseason. Lurie, of course, went this route once before and had success hiring a certain QBs coach from Green Bay. McAdoo is 35-years-old. The Packers take on the 49ers in the divisional round this weekend.

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Jay Gruden On Eagles’ Radar

The Eagles have requested permission to interview Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, Tim McManus has confirmed.

Gruden has been with Cincinnati the past two seasons. He’s done a nice job of developing young talent – specifically quarterback Andy Dalton. A second-round pick in 2011, Dalton threw 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions as a rookie. His numbers are up across the board this year, as Dalton completed 62.3 percent of his passes with 27 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.

The Bengals ranked 12th in scoring offense (24.4 PPG) and were 17th in Football Outsiders’ rankings.

Gruden had never been a coordinator or a position coach in the NFL or college before 2011. He was a coach/general manager in the UFL and also served as a coach in the AFL. Gruden was an offensive assistant with the Bucs from 2002 to 2008, while he simultaneously held some of those other posts.

“We are not reinventing the wheel against every new defense we face,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said about Gruden, per the team’s Web site. “Jay sees the offense through the quarterback’s eyes, and it’s a case of building from week to week, rather than starting over. The quarterback has a lot of leeway in the things he can call, and Jay recognized that Andy was the type of player who could use those options effectively.”

Gruden and the Bengals take on the Texans today in the divisional round. But win or lose, assistants whose teams are playing this weekend can interview for head-coaching jobs next week, as long as they are granted permission.

Tim provided more background on Gruden in an earlier post, talking to Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer about the head-coaching candidate.

Gruden is 45-years-old.

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